Is this Ice Climbing?

We have been told by some that the real ice climbing season has not started and what we are doing is not real ice climbing. Well we want you to have a look at these photos and tell us if we are ice climbing – real ice climbing, that is. Alfonzo and I think we are but want to be sure!

No Ice, No Ice Climbing - Not In!

Ice, Ice Climbing - In!


King Ravine 11/13/11: It had been warm all week so Sunday we headed into King Ravine. We had previously seen plenty of water flowing and this time of year the sun never shines in on over half of the ravine… we were rewarded and climbed some fun and challenging ice. Another great ice climb of the season. At least I think it was a real ice climb?!

It’s all about timing and knowing where to go. Hit it wrong and it’s all coming down on you and running in your boot. It’s also not caring if you hit it wrong.  It’s all part of the game.  Don’ be lazy, get out, look and plan with the weather. Beat the sun and skip work if need be. Don’t be afraid to be wrong. It’s all fun. Ice climbing is an obsession and you need to feed it. Does the deer hunter wait until mid season to hunt? Does a true fan of any sport miss opening day? NO!  That’s why we’re out there!

“We took a chance, for from the car and the road, while cranking tunes with the climate controls set to excellent, nothing looked worth the walk to us…. nothing looked “great” and most certainly not “in”. But here’s the weird thing… we went for it and did find ice… it was “in” and it was frick-n “great!” Who would have thunk it??” – Alfonzo


Some photos of this years early ice.

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Is this enough ice to climb?

Huntington & King Ravines – October & November 2011. Photos by Doug Millen & Alfonzo



Stay tuned for more road side and arm chair reports.

– Doug Millen


3 replies
  1. sandstone
    sandstone says:

    Looks like ice. Smells like ice. Tastes like ice. Hmmm……must be ice! 🙂

    Thanks for the early season inspiration, and all the work you do to keep this site going strong!

  2. Broken Spectre
    Broken Spectre says:

    If you hang your weight entirely on ice (not rotting snow) for at least one move on the pitch you are officially ice climbing. That’s RockyTop and my rule at least. We haven’t managed to “ice” climb east of the Mississippi and south of canada in June, July, August and September yet, but only because we haven’t found a good underground pitch yet!

  3. leaf
    leaf says:

    To me, I feel that early season captures the true spirit of climbing. It’s the unknown, the chance of getting totally screwed finding no ice.. about being out there alone or with just your partner without the throngs of other climbers.. about not knowing what’s around the corner, not knowing what the conditions are like before setting out.. planning and watching the weathers days before you decide to climb, figuring out the best time and place to go for success. That’s climbing to me.

    Going in on a January day, having guaranteed fat ice to climb.. fun? Of course! It’s a blast! Adventurous? Hmm.. not as much, I think.

    Early season is my favorite time to climb. Nice work in King Ravine going for it! The pictures are awesome.


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